Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Compare church approach verus Super Nanny towards domestic violence

Posted by Hannah at 12:27 PM

Mr. Davis feels that using his belt, and smacking the kids is the proper approach to child rearing. We aren't talking spankings that you hear about. We are talking a man that throws his anger around, spanks with the belt, and demands the respect he is due.

Here is a comment I got earlier about this portion:

Spanking for everything without any training in why or how to develop personal character is just abuse, even when it isn't meant to be. This is very critical in Christian circles because churches tend to teach spanking and parental domination as being equivalent to good parenting.

Another thing, this man mentioned growing up in abuse. I have observed several times now in talking with someone who grew up in abuse, they are oblivious to the boundaries of abuse. They would never dream of treating their family the way they were treated (though sometimes we know they will also do that too) but they fully accept this type of "discipline" as being both normal and right. Because it is so much different and "less" than what they grew up with they think it isn't abuse.

(This is a part of a series of articles I have written using segments of the show Super Nanny.  In this series we use scenes from this family to show the Series of Emotional and Verbal Abuse your hear, feel, and see.  Please see this link to view the different topics of discussion)

He knows the way he spanks those children with the belt is unacceptable, but he tries to show justification for it. Remember they are called 'little bitches', and spoken to like he did Morgan. He uses those tools along with a belt. Can you see how his spankings may not be the ones that are used by other parents? I don't want to get into a spanking debate here, but look at his behavior so far. Would he be the type that could discipline in the proper manner?

If you notice at the end of the video their daugther Morgan also doesn't know how to approach her sister after getting popped in the mouth.

Teaching the children right from wrong is part of being a parent. If you have one that uses this type of punishment instead of sitting down to talk about bad behavior it will break the spirits of the children.

Abusers have short fuses, and they don't talk about things. They must have things a certain way or you can expect them to lash out if they don't get it. They don't have the patience parent skills, but instead use other tools like fear. That is where walking on eggshells is used. You never know what will set him off!

He is NOT showing them how to deal with life. He is showing them you need to smack others to deal with it. You need to lash out, call names, hit, humiliate,etc. He will admit its not the best way, but that doesn't stop him does it?

This second clip is the Super Nanny letting them know how she feels about what she has seen so far:

Lets see how Super Nanny approaches things, and compare what most are told when asking the church for help.

Here is another comment I received:

The woman is focused on keeping the family together - that is very typical. She's "fighting" for the family unit the best way she knows how and without making him madder. What she doesn't see but the nanny does is that she's hurting the family unit by doing that. That is so common in abusive situations! And giving people a very visual wake up call about this reality is significant. Sometimes people will act for their children where they would not stand up for themselves - and realizing what is really best for their children can be huge. What is best is NOT staying together at all cost. What is best is training these children to be responsible adults, and to love them. Neither of those is possible in an abusive home. No matter how much you may feel you love your children that is not the message they are getting loud and clear. They are learning that the abuser is more important than everyone else in every way. Their feelings, needs, emotions and personal development are secondary always.

Phil is very aware that he will put in his place the next day. He knows he deals with things incorrectly, but doesn't stop him from doing it anyway does it? This is very common as well. When they are confronted they will admit things at times, but that doesn't mean they will stop the behavior.

If you remind them that they have admitted this before, and didn't stop they will start a fight with you. He won't start a fight in front of the cameras, but he would do that with his family. He feels he is entitled to that. Remember do as I say and not as I do? It ticks abusers off when they are reminded of the double standards.

You notice that Super Nanny says if the behavior isn't dealt with a repeat of history will happen over and over again. She is correct! Their children will continue the cycle as well. They were not brought up to know what healthy is.

Most of the time victims are told they need to communicate things to their spouses, and to basically kill them with kindness. We are told that the bible states if you have chaste behavior you could turn the other parties behavior around. I can see that happening in alot of different circumstances, but this one is different. She is correct it needs to be nipped in the bud. Its not to often 'nipped in the bud' when churches when they become aware.

Super Nanny tells Phil that his "I'm the man' attitude is appalling. She contributes to this family as well, and they have pooled their resources to raise their family. Phil will tell you its HIS contribution that truly counts. He is constantly minimizing other's contributions. I do feel this is due to insecurity, but unless you call it out as such you won't change a thing. Churches tend to push 'don't hurt the ego' in men, because that is something that is important to them. That's their makeup! Show honor for them at all times!

I have seen so many times that this type of thing brought up, and the definition of biblical roles is brought into the picture. Maybe he doesn't feel honored enough. You may not give him the encouragement he needs. Calling out the behavior for what it is doesn't happen within the church to often.

We are always looking to the other party to see what might have caused this. The responsibility for their own behavior is never recognized, because we are always searching to see what the other party might have done to cause it. The church encourages people NOT to take personal responsibility, and similar to abusers look for the EXCUSE part in every scenario.

When he was called out for calling his daugther a slut and whore the day before he attempted to correct Super Nanny about what he really meant. He was attempting to justify his behavior. You hear alot about, "WELL if you didn't do this I wouldn't have to react like this!"

When Super Nanny reminded him she was there he finally backed off. He isn't going to fight like he would at home with the cameras on. Abusers like to rewrite history, and I will tell you that he wouldn't admit it to his wife if she approached him in this manner. He would get mad at her, and attack her for attempting to put words in his mouth. If you remind him that isn't the proper way of handling it he will give you the 'whatever' attitude. You can't resolve things when this happens can you?

I think at times the church just can't wrap their minds around the fact that people do act like this. They certainly don't realize the damage it does to the parties that live with it!

Phil will admit certain things to Super Nanny because the cameras are on, and she was there. Most of the time abusers aren't going to admit things. Chances are most of them will act as they should around others, but at home they act the immediate opposite. Home isn't a safe place for anyone, and yet the bible states it should be.

Phil knows what he is doing, but he isn't capable of stopping himself. The church has a really hard time seeing this, and constantly does things to give benefit of the doubt. "I can't believe he acts like that! He is such a wonderful man when we had dealt with him!" Abusers can act nice for short periods of time, but its like a pressure cooker. He will start by letting off a little steam, and if you have him hold on to it to long? He explodes!

'I don't think you know what you say when you are angry! You fly off the handle and you act like a bulldog!"

You notice how he attempted to divert the conversation by switching gears to how Morgan is? He wasn't expecting the response he got, and if it was his wife saying this? He will tell her that she is half the problem! She doesn't live in the real world!

Phil breaks the spirits of all the family members due to his behavior. That is part of the reason why mom seems to enable him to continue. No matter what she does, How she approaches him - it will always be wrong. You don't tell Phil anything. He is KING!

Can you see how this behavior and the encouragement of submitting and reminding others show he is the leader the home could enable his bad behavior to continue? He should care less about the spirit in which people speak about it. He uses what he hears against them, and he will not acknowledge his part in this.

You notice that Phil is surprised to hear how he is breaking down his relationships, and his family, and his marriage by his behavior? Notice how he looks at her a bit surprised and maybe even scared at this point?

Mrs. Davis wants her family to be together, and that is the reason that most victims come to the church for help. The Churches uneducated and paranoia about divorce stops them from handing out that help. This is the price that families do pay when the church places the union before the people within it.

The cycle of behavior will continue when those children grow up. They don't know what healthy looks like, and yet we expect people to know. Families like this don't have the tools, but are told they should have them. They reach out because they know they don't, and yet they are handed simplistic advice instead. 'Just walk away!' 'Get yourself a new cookbook, and get on his favorite dress! Show your love for him, and he will respond!'

Super Nanny along with others assume that both partners in this relationship have equal footing. They should be able to tell their spouse to stop - wait a minute, etc. Abusers won't allow that, and they will bite back like a wounded animal.

They aren't equal partners because of fear. Fear without punches. Fear without bruises. The longer this goes on the more broken the family gets, and the less likely they are to be able to defend themselves. They give up. They are lost, and feel completely powerless.

This is why I feel counseling separately is needed. Phil has abuse issues, and she has issues of her own. They are completely different issues, and both need to be dealt with. He needs to be brought down a couple of pegs, and she needs to feel its safe to be brought a couple of pegs. She wouldn't be able to be completely open and honest in couple's counseling, because she knows what will happen when she gets home. She will pay for it. He will rewrite history! He will show her how crazy she is! Remember we don't have 'cameras' before or after the sessions.

The bible says sin loves the darkness, and fears the light. We need to educate ourselves enough to see the signs so we may lead people to the light. We need to stop stating that emotional abuse isn't a powerful weapon! What does God say about that? Read James 3, and you will see he does speak about this. Direct approaches like Super Nanny is needed more than the spiritual pixie dust used as the church's approach. They are all broken, and unless we want to admit what is really happening...we can't change a thing!

How does your church approach this? Is it like Super Nanny?

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4 comments: on 12:40 AM said...

I agree with your assessment nearly 100%, Hannah! Our churches are doing lousy jobs of dealing with abusers.

One point you made that I would like to add clarity:
"We are always looking to the other party to see what might have caused this. The responsibility for their own behavior is never recognized, because we are always searching to see what the other party might have done to cause it. The church encourages people NOT to take personal responsibility, and similar to abusers look for the EXCUSE part in every scenario."

Too many churches do encourage the men--should I specify the abusive man--to not take responsibility for his actions. But they expect the wife to take responsibility for her husband's actions. She is considered weak or even sinful if she cannot stop her husband's abuse. What is she supposed to do, hog tie and gag him? Take him down and sit on him? But that would be domestic violence, wouldn't it? She is in a no-win situation because she is held responsible for something she cannot possibly have any control over. Submitting and placating just make the abuse worse, because it increases his contempt for her.

That comment about fighting for the family unit being exactly the wrong and most destructive thing to do is so true!

Another statement I'd like to add fuel to:

"Phil knows what he is doing, but he isn't capable of stopping himself."

I think this statement does not go far enough, because the reason he can't stop himself is because he does NOT WANT to. He does his behavior because it works for him. Think of it; everyone jumps before he says how high. His anger is not because he has issues, it is because it works for him. Most abusers do not use this anger away from home because they know it would be counter-productive. They use it at home because it works for them. They really are not interested in a close relationship, so the fact that they are damaging others and driving them away is immaterial to them. When they want the person close, they'll play the person like a fiddle to get what they want, and when they are done, they'll push them away again through nastiness of some sort. This is why the "love dare" does not work for these abusers. They do NOT value closeness. All they want is to use, manipulate and control others for their own benefit.

The church does not get this. They think if we turn the other cheek, love unconditionally, etc, that the person will be won over. Instead the person becomes more contempuous at the Christian stupidity. At this point, the Proverbs are our best source for wisdom. Prov 27:12 "The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it." The church has been demanding that wives act like simpletons. 26:24-25 "A malicious man disguises himself with his lips, but in his heart he harbors deceit. Though his speech is charming, do not believe him, for seven abominations fill his heart." Prov 23:9 "Do not speak to a fool, for he will scorn the wisom of your words." (and abusers are fools because they do not have a proper awe of God and His commands.) 21:9 "Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome (abuser)." 27:22 "Though you grind a fool in a mortar, grinding him like grain with a pestle, you wll not remove his folly from him."

And then there is Prov. 18:5 for the church. "It is not good to be partial to the wicked, or to deprive the innocent of justice." on 1:11 AM said...

Hannah, I really appreciate the way you compare and contrast the way the church deals with abusers and the way Super Nanny does. Super Nanny looks ahead to what effect the abuse will have on future generations. The church focuses on holding tight to their rules/doctrines at all costs, even at great cost to 3-4 generations to come, even to the point of the wife's injury and death in some cases. I need to qualify that--not all churches do this. I am referring to the churches who build an extra prison wall around women and children who would already have a difficult time getting away from their abuser.

What is odd, is that those churches may be doing the same comparison and would say Super Nanny is all wrong. They would crucify her for scolding the wife for keeping that family together at such great cost to the children. Those churches would tell the wife that if she would keep the children quiet, Phil would not get angry with them. Her husband is the authority in their home, and if he thinks he needs to relax after work, then he does need that, and she is not to complain. She is to do her work heartily as to the Lord, as well as submit as to the Lord. As you put it, Hannah, they quote scripture as if it is magical pixie dust that will fix everything.

But use of scripture requires wisdom. You don't just paste a verse on a situation because you want a particular outcome. When the husband is abusing the wife, the "wife submit" verse is the wrong verse to apply. At that point the husband love and sacrifice verses are the correct antedote. And I Peter 3:7 should be quoted, "Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, SO THAT NOTHING WILL HINDER YOUR PRAYERS." And stop teaching that the verse "and above all love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins," is especially written for wives of abusive husbands. It should especially apply to the abusers to help them stop abusing. The church needs to get it's use of scripture straight.

Anonymous said...

After almost 37 years of marriage (supposed to be Christian) I have decided to separate from my abusive husband. My ahah moment was when he threatened to punch me on the face for his own mistake. I could sense something was wrong with him (seething anger, critical and controlling in everything) aside from being a mama's boy. Being a committed Christian ties us down and limits our choices until we reach the point of "enough" is enough. I should have left long time ago but the "guilt" feeling of not keeping my marriage vow before God (I know now that God does not want me to continue living with a man habitually sinning by committing abuses), kept me trying to change or influence the crazy maker. When the verbal, emotional, psychological abuse is turning to physical abuse, I drew the line. Now I am trying to undo the damage done to our two sons. The thing is I need to leave the corporate church that we belong to because, divorce is not allowed and nobody will believe that my husband is an abuser. He is a textbook passive aggressive, quiet, timid and without personality. The churches have a lot to answer to Jesus Christ for perpetuating abusive relationships and not really giving aid to the abused victims.

Hannah on 11:59 AM said...

I agree with Anonymous 3. They do have a lot to answer for. Sadly, I don't even think they will realize this topic will be one of them.

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